“Smell of Success”
November 20th, 2007
There is no question that Pushing Daisies has found itself a nice little rhythm, but this week’s episode was perhaps its weakest yet…in some ways. The show has a unique way of overcoming some of its weaker elements (In this case, the most predictable mystery in a while) in order to provide some great stuff (Lily and Vivian’s potential return to the water), while maintaining its consistency (Emerson Cod in general).
I can’t expect the show to be perfect, and it really wasn’t here: however, it did end on a high note which could provide a recurring storyline for the first time in quite a while.
The episode’s mystery circled around an olfactory expert by the name of Napoleon LeNey who was releasing a book and unfortunately had a wide range of attacks on his life. Eventually, the blame falls on his former partner and current rival, Oscar Vibenius, played by Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman, for the unaware). In this case, however, the name guest star wasn’t the murderer at all: he had been framed by Lemay in order to sell more copies of his book, the Smell of Success. Attempted murder does tend to get a lot of press, although being charged with murder is equally unhelpful to long-term financial gain. You could smell (Yeah, I went there) the outcome from a mile away, so the story’s impact was minimal. Still, some charming mystery-solving as usual.
In the B-Story, Olive did her finest to get the Aunts (Back for a multi-week hiatus) back into the pool. However, even the smell of chlorine (once “bottled sunshine” to Lily) couldn’t get her to overcome her crippling sadness. This was really the episode’s highlight: the mystery was fine and all, but Ellen Greene keeps knocking this thing out of the park, and I figure you could probably make a decent case for a Supporting Actress Emmy if she gets an episode more focused on Vivian. As it was, her scenes were powerful, and her broadway chops were put to good use on Cat Stevens’ “Morning has Broken,” which she sang as the two finally returned to the water.
Otherwise, though, the big news is that we have a recurring storyline: Oscar, himself fascinated with smells, found something below the surface on Olive which he finds fascinating. As a result, he stole her sweater and seems to have every intention of stalking her until he figures out her scent. I like this development because it provides some continuity, although it appears it will be a few episodes (There are only two left before the show runs out, though) before we return to Reubens’ character. Still, I look forward to it.
- While I love Emerson, and I love picture books, I thought their inclusion was a little precious. It almost seemed a bit too out of character, even if I laughed every single time he said the words.
- That said, Emerson was the show’s most consistent element – his one liners were sharp, his observations were relevant, and it seemed like he rose to the occasion more than Ned did (Who was seriously marginalized in this episode, too).
- Olive was fairly marginalized this week, but perhaps the biggest laugh of the episode was how darn happy she looked flapping around in the mermaid tail at Lily and Vivian’s.
- I think I’ve discovered why I just wasn’t feeling it: Digby was only in the episode once, people. After so much Digby last week, cutting him down to a single scene was just cruel.